Lightship, a startup founded by Tesla veterans, reveals aero and efficiency advancements in L1 electric RVs

Lightship, a startup founded by Tesla veterans, reveals aero and efficiency advancements in L1 electric RVs

Electric RV startup Lightship is providing a behind-the-scenes look at its solar electric curtain ahead of its 2024 first production date. This includes an account of the work that went into creating its flagship L1 towable trailer, which is expected to be the more aerodynamic choice available on the market.

Designing battery-powered trailers for the all-electric era, Lightship is a San Francisco, California, and Boulder, Colorado-based startup that bills itself as the first all-electric RV firm. In 2020, Ben Parker and Toby Kraus, two seasoned professionals who had significant roles at Tesla, launched it.

It have followed Lightship from the beginning, all the way to the formal debut of their L1 electric RV trailer at SXSW in March of this year. With its aerodynamic, modular design and independent all-electric drivetrain and battery pack, this travel trailer reduces the amount of weight it can tow behind the car in front of it.

As a result, future owners of this towable electric vehicle will be able to go farther and more effectively between charges. The L1’s springtime debut did not let us down, but we must admit that we are eager for additional information. An electric trailer that preserves the range of its towing car has the potential to revolutionize the stagnant RV market.

In an effort to produce an electric RV that is truly unique, Lightship revealed today specifics about the L1’s development process, including the close attention to aerodynamics that its designers placed on the project.

Lightship’s electric RV is aerodynamically optimized in every way

As you’ll see in the Lightship video below, the startup used cutting-edge modeling tools and assistance from Angus Lock, the Tesla Roadster’s principal aerodynamicist, to mimic hundreds of hours spent in a virtual wind tunnel.

Lightship was able to develop its final concept thanks to this economical method of analyzing the airflow behavior surrounding rival trailers and comparing it to Lightship’s own electric RV designs. The creators of the startup also pooled their experience with passenger EVs to create L1’s unique “Dual Mode” design, which, when parked in “Camp Mode,” provides a spacious cabin with 7’6′′ of headroom. When in “Road Mode,” the hard-sided walls of the cabin can be telescoping down to reduce the frontal area and coefficient of drag by 35–40%.

Lightship continues by highlighting three key areas in which the L1 electric RV trailer was optimized:

Tongue Box:

The trailer’s crucial leading edge, which controls how air interacts with the object’s downstream portion while it is moving. Regardless of whether the vehicle pulling in front of it is an ICE truck or an EV, the L1’s storage box helps to minimize the divergence between it and the vehicle in front while also stabilizing the flow surrounding the vehicle.

Boat-tailed Rear:

The central section of the cabin is maintained to allow for the fitting of a queen-size bed, while shallow angles at the back help prevent the creation of strong vortices, which can increase drag.

Electric Drivetrain:

The show’s main star. With its own electric engine and batteries, Lightship’s L1 Long Range RV can move itself while lessening the strain on the tow car, increasing range.

Research and development is essential to this process since Lightship wants to make a perfect first impression when it enters the RV market. But computer designs and simulations are limited. Testing in the real world is required eventually. Three separate vehicles were used to tow an Essential version (no electric motor) 60 miles at 60 mph in order to test the L1’s aerodynamics: a gas-powered Ford F-150, an R1S SUV, and a Rivian R1T pickup. Lightship also hauled a “bullet-shaped trailer” for further comparison.

Whether the towing vehicle is an electric or combustion one, the L1 is generally more efficient than its rival. Remember that the L1 Long Range, with its unique powertrain arrangement, is expected to provide almost negligible range loss; this is not taken into consideration in the data above.

Compared to conventional ICE vehicles, electric truck and SUV owners are seeing significant range reductions when towing, which makes lengthy trips with a trailer more challenging. Even without its electric motor, Lightship’s L1 RV has managed to resolve that problem.

Depending on the variant you choose, the Lightship L1 can be pre-ordered for $500 down and has a price range of $125,000 to $151,500. The start of production is anticipated for late 2024.